"Dream Police #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated by Sid Kotian
2014, 32 Pages
Comic released on April 30th, 2014
Dreams are crazy things. We don't know all that much about them and just about anything can happen in them. One moment you're leading an army of penguins while trying to conquer Alaska and the next you're sitting in math class in your underpants. J. Michael Straczynski (aka JMS) is looking to bring some order to this chaos with Dream Police, the latest addition to the partnership between his Joe's Comics line and Image. The book follows Lieutenant Detective Joe Thursday and his partner Frank Stafford on a typical day in the Dreamscape. Of course, no day here can be considered all that typical when you're dealing with dreams. Things are about to get a little more unusual though.
The beauty of Dream Police is that it can really go any way. There's no limit to dreams. It's like your imagination. If you can think it up, it can show up in a dream. JMS creates rules around them in an effort to explain some of the oddities that pop up. For example, the locations are built to the specifications in a person's mind by a group of dwarves. They follow blueprints and quickly put together the surroundings based on the individual's subconscious. People you may encounter in the Dreamscape are most likely shapeshifters. It's their job to be whomever or whatever you need them to be in order to get through your dream.
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The dangers in this realm come from the likes of lucid dreamers. These are people that have become aware that they are dreaming and as a result, realize that they can manipulate the world around them; not unlike a god. Joe and Frank have to rush to wake the person up before they can tear apart the area, killing and injuring everyone nearby, including other dreamers. This is their job. Every day.
Then there are the Nightmares. Artist Sid Kotian has drawn some terrifying creatures with these guys. Picture a tall, slender gentleman in a suit and tie, wearing a top hat. A mask covers most of his face. When he bids you farewell, he takes off his hat. The mask is attached to the hat and he reveals what could be an absolute horror. You never actually see it, but you do see people's reactions to it. Most can't even look at them when the masks are off. Joe doesn't flinch though. He sees it as a sign of respect. By keeping the true nature of the nightmares hidden, it makes it so much scarier. I'm imagining all these frightening things that could be lurking behind those cold, dead eyes.
Speaking of Kotian's work, Dream Police is a great showcase of what he can do. Aside from the aforementioned Nightmares and superpowered lucid dreamer, there's a dragon, aliens, a talking cat, and more. There's no limit to what can be packed into these issues due to the nature of dreams.
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Joe and Frank are shown as your typical hard-nosed detectives. You can tell that they've been at this for a while and they're not about to take any shit from anyone, even that dragon. Additionally, this is their job and like any job, it can be tiring. That kind of weight is seen on them in most panels, especially Joe.
Dream Police is off to a great start. This issue lays the ground work for how the Dreamscape works and what kind of things readers can expect. There's a nice twist at the end that opens things up quite a bit as to what else can happen. As with any dream, it's a quick change that immediately alters the entire status quo. I just hope that doesn't mean that Joe will be going to work in his underpants.